The future of work

With Google as initial advocate, and now Microsoft pushing as well, the way we work the last couple of years has been greatly impacted by two fundamental technology changes: cloud and mobile.

Cloud has impacted the way we access information from a perspective that users don’t necessarily understand or even see. They don’t know if their company’s infrastructure is in the cloud or on-premise; nor do they care. End users only experience a shift to now being able to access information from any computer and from anywhere without having to be logged in.

Mobile on the other hand does mean a big change for users. But mobile doesn’t necessarily mean phone or tablet.
Mobile means the ability to work well in transit. Mobile is the ability to work anywhere, anytime, not tethered to your desk. Mobile could be a kiosk, mobile could be on airplanes or your favourite coffee shop. Mobile just means we can now work when we are not in those set static locations.

A lot of the discussion about ‘the future of work’ has been about the conflict between technology and culture. Many say that culture eats strategy or technology for lunch and can prevent digital business transformation.

So may be we shouldn’t focus on culture or technology but rather on purpose.

If you don’t have a reason for doing something with a culture where people are open to share and collaborate nothing will happen. If you have the greatest technology at your fingertips but no end goal, nothing will happen.

So may be we should start to define goals by asking ‘why?‘. Ultimately, the goal is to define a purposeful project for the owner and stakeholders and with a 3-5 year outlook. Once this is defined, the team can figure out how to use the technology and how to improve the culture.

But also provide an answer to an individual’s most important question “what’s in it for me” to get user adoption.
You need to make it simple enough for people to see a benefit for themselves. You need to teach employees that they will benefit and not only the company will benefit.

Too many adoption projects fail because we see posters on the wall about the company is going to become open and transparent and everybody is going to be able to share. You need to think about how to attack people’s minds at an individual level: you’ll get your job done better, more efficient, more effective if you follow the following rules. If you can make the lives of your employees, their jobs, their successes, their rewards, their recognition better, they’re going to be more efficient and effective employees.

Putting the tools in place and cultivating the culture of adoption is important, but all of this has to be driven by purpose.